When my wife and I let our daughters become figure skaters, we did it because we knew they would see some benefits from participating in the sport. And, so far at least, it has been everything we’ve expected it to be.
One thing I did not expect, however, was the impact it had on me personally as a parent. In fact, there are three big ways their figure skating has made me a better father.
The first is I spend much more time with them. To be fair, I already spent quite a bit of time with them before. But, in addition to the time I was already spending with them, I also spend time with them at practices, driving them to competitions and at the various skating banquets and fundraisers that are held throughout the year. And, since I know this likely won’t be the case when they get older, I’m savoring it.
I also get to meet some of their friends. My daughters don’t really bring friends home from school all that much and, as a result, I really don’t know who they hang out with during the day. However, they also have quite a few friends they’ve met through skating and, by meeting and getting to know them, I’m able to get a good idea what kind of kids they are most likely spending time with when I’m not around. Seeing them in social situations with kids of various ages also lets me feel a bit more confident about them being on their own.
Last, it forces me to talk to other parents. I’m not really as anti-social as my wife accuses me of being. I just spend a great deal of time talking to people at work and, as a result, am not overly enthused about spending my free time with other adults (other than my wife, of course). That, however, is pretty much a requirement when we’re at the ice rink. I can’t say I’ve made close friends; I do at least try to be social. And, in doing that, have picked up a couple parenting tricks I might not have otherwise learned.
I can’t, in all honesty, say my daughters’ figure skating completely changed me. However, it has had a positive influence on me and I do feel I’m a better parent overall as a result of that. It’s just one more reason for me to be glad I let them participate.